Like their enterprise counterparts, many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have virtualized at least part of their IT infrastructure, but there's still a long way to go.
Slightly more than half (53 percent) of SMBs' workloads are virtualized today, according to data collected by Forrester Research on behalf of VMware. What's more, about one-third of SMBs (32 percent) have virtualized less than 40 percent of their workloads; they have avoided virtualizing their most mission-critical applications — often because they don't have the staff to assess the implications of doing so.
The survey by Forrester (published in a report called "Expand Your Virtual Infrastructure With Confidence and Control") included 328 organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The respondents included IT decision-makers with responsibility for virtualization projects; each received a small incentive to participate in late 2013.
On average, the survey respondents are running 16 virtual machines (VMs) per server; 44 percent of them ran six VMs or fewer. Almost three-quarters (71 percent) are actively growing their virtual infrastructure, however, through additional virtual servers or through management tools.
Where will the bulk of those investments be focused over the next 12 months? Right now, only 28 percent of the SMBs surveyed continuously monitor their virtual capacity and only 24 percent meet their uptime service-level agreements. So, management will definitely be a big theme of SMB virtualization investments over the short term.
Here are their most critical requirements for a virtualization monitoring or operations management solution, according to the Forrester-VMware research:
- Alerting for health degradation, performance bottlenecks, and capacity shortfalls (39 percent)
- Root-cause analysis and remediation recommendations (30 percent)
- Single pane of glass to view the overall health, risk, and efficiency of the environment (26 percent)
- Self-learning analytics that recognize performance of a "normal environment" and reduce false alerting (24 percent)
- Capacity planning to optimize current usage and what-if analysis capabilities to forecast future capacity requirements (22 percent)
- Flexible operations policies with customizable dashboards and role-based access